Campaign Finance: Obama vs McCain
Compare and Contrast
A bit ago, I stumbled across the blog of a young Republican McCain supporter. Excuse me — make that Young Republican. As in, College Republican. Not sure about the deeply-seeded personal hypocrisy yet. But this guy definitely has trouble connecting with reality to justify his support for McCain.
I took issue with the first paragraph [emphasis mine]:
John McCain’s campaign appears to be doing alright for itself. His adherence to the public money deal of campaigning is especially beneficial since Barack Obama flipped on the issue. Of course, this means that McCain will have considerably less money against Obama’s corporate-funded juggernaut campaign; he’ll have to rely on unconventional, grassroots campaigning to win the presidency. The biggest aspect of this grassroots effort is apparently e-mail.
The rest is just him complaining about McCain campaign spam and contemplating whether spam from Nestle is useful. You know, normal blog stuff.
So I typed out a quick comment. Hit send. That was on 09/09/08, and my comment still hasn’t shown up. In all fairness, he hasn’t posted a new blog entry since 09/05/08, so he might be busy with something. Until it gets posted (and in case it doesn’t), here’s my original comment:
“Obama’s corporate-funded juggernaut campaign”
after Palin’s speech, the Obama raised several million from over 130,000 individual donors.
maybe this is the “unconventional, grassroots campaigning” you were referring to in the next sentence?
he receives donations from hundreds of thousands of individual donors, “powered overwhelmingly by small online donations”
please stop adding to the smear and disinformation and get your facts straight.
Whether he’s a weak-headed membrane unable to overcome a lil’ bit o’ cognitive dissonance depends on whether he let’s my comment see the light of day on his blog.
Even as Obama seeks to contrast himself with McCain as a political outsider, updated bundler lists released recently by their campaigns show they have a similar number of high-dollar fund-raisers.
So if they have a similar Big Supporter profile, how is it that Obama has managed to raise about twice as much money as McCain? The difference is Obama gets way more small donations. From Small Supporters like you and me. Or at least me, if you’re a Big Supporter or No Supporter At All.
For example, Page 3 of the same “big donors” article concedes that Obama raised nearly three times as much money in small donations ($200 or less) than he did in large donations ($1000 or more) during June 2008: $32 million to $12 million dollars. So, yes, Obama does rely on Big Supporters. But the extent to which his campaign is dependent on Small Supporters is truly unprecedented and groundbreaking.
On top of this, the Obama campaign is cleaner than the McCain campaign when it comes to full financial disclosures: 92.8% vs 85.8%, respectively. The Obama campaign has also taken much less money overall from PACs and the ambiguous “other” category: $15 million vs $33 million.
So what about Obama’s refusal to take public campaign financing? If I were Obama, I would refuse “public campaign financing” too — since I’d already be receiving it directly from people who willingly sacrifice to give in little bits. I’m also technically funding McCain, since public funding is provided by tax dollars, some of which were mine. But that’s a tricky situation: If Obama capitulated and took public financing, he would have betrayed all of the individuals who had worked so hard to support him so far.